something we can all agree on. But
what I believe about a chair and what
you believe about a chair will give us
two different chairs, even though we’re
looking at the same piece of furniture.
No one is wrong here. This is true with
everything we think, and we either
eventually catch up with our beautiful
selves or we don’t. Until we do, it’s a
confusing world. Often, it’s a world of
hurt until we get a little inquiry under
our belts and can see the real world
instead of the world we believe it to be.
Do you have a litmus test for
deciding what’s real as opposed to
BK: Ask yourself if you love what you
see and if you love what you feel when
you see it.
The Work is about gaining a new
perspective by opening your heart,
not by trying to change your thinking.
It’s more about allowing. Can you
comment on the difference?
BK: The Work allows what is there to
surface. I can’t figure out how to have
a happy world. I have to ask, wait, be
open to what I see, and be humble
enough to accept it. The more we do
The Work, the more our mind is open
to it, and the stronger the invitation
we make to ourselves. What is there to
enlighten us is free to meet us where
we are, until eventually we’re just a
living, walking meditation.
A key part of this is being able to
drop our stories, which isn’t easy!
BK: People hear it that way, but
it’s not a question of dropping our
stories. As I often say, “I don’t let go
of my stressful thoughts. I question
them, and then they let go of me.” For
example, I do The Work on mother,
father, sister, brother, and then
smoking quits me. Making
clear decisions becomes so
simple and effortless. The Work
keeps you in this fearless
and grateful state of mind.
The Work is famous for healing
emotional issues. Can it also address
BK: I’ve had cancer, and I’ve also lost
eyesight in both eyes. I’m cured of all
that now, but it would be okay with me
if I weren’t. It was perfectly okay for
me to be blind and perfectly okay for
me to have cancer when those things
happened. It wasn’t okay with my
doctors. So far I have had no physical
condition that I can complain about,
and if I did have a complaint, I would
For example, when the doctor said
I had cancer, I could see he believed it
and I could hear he was very alarmed.
He said, “I want you to get to my office
as quickly as possible.”
My thought was, My doctor is having
trouble. I’d better get there as soon as
possible. Someone had a problem with
it, but it wasn’t me.
So I went to his office. Out of the
kindness of his heart he had already
lined up a lot of radiation treatments.
He didn’t want me to have surgery
because he said it could leave me
disfigured—it would take several
surgeries and may never look right. I
could see he wasn’t the doctor I wanted
to attend me in any way because he
was fearful, and so I thanked him and
said I wanted another opinion.
Then my husband got on the phone
and started interviewing doctors. One
said he could remove the cancer and
do cosmetic surgery all in one
session—he was excited when
he explained the procedure.
Because of his excitement and his
professionalism, he was my choice,
for better or for worse. The surgery
and then it
Even though I
had a huge bandage
on my nose, the next
morning I took one of my
granddaughters to Disneyland
for her birthday because I’d
promised her we’d go. I haven’t had
another surgery since. And all is well.
Are there any other spiritual
practices you recommend?
BK: I often invite students to do at
least three really nice things a day for
someone else, without getting found
out (in which case they have to start
over). You could leave a flower in front
of someone’s door, maybe with a typed
note saying, “Thank you for being you.”
Your ego will surface all over the place
because you’ll want to be found out.
But if you keep doing it, eventually
you’ll continue giving as a natural way
of life, wanting nothing in return. It
becomes such a part of your life that it
takes it over.
BYRON KATIE, FOUNDER OF THE WORK,
HAS WRITTEN SEVERAL BOOKS, THE
LATEST OF WHICH IS A MIND AT HOME
WITHITSELF (HARPERCOLLINS, 2017). SHE
OFFERS TALKS, WEEKEND WORKSHOPS, A
NINE-DAY PROGRAM CALLED THE SCHOOL
FOR THE WORK, AND A 28-DAY RESIDENTIAL
PROGRAM CALLED TURNAROUND HOUSE IN
OJAI, CALIFORNIA. VISIT THEWORK.COM
FOR DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS ABOUT HOW
TO DO THE WORK, FREE VIDEOS, AND